The weather remained mild and dry for the second round of the Kent Cross Country League races this weekend and the new Invicta club tent and flags stood out amongst the other club tents. Our athletes, once again, did not disappoint with some excellent racing. Somerhill is a beautiful course with the infamous hills providing a challenging run for all age groups. A series of seriously undulating loops is followed by a flat, fast section, before a climb to the top of the grounds and a long downhill section to the finish.
The U13 Girls got off to a fine start. Eliza Mills enjoyed her first cross country outing for the club coming in a very good 40thand it was lovely to see Ellie Laffey back in action with a strong 22nd. Bethany Waite made improvements, gaining 8 places in the rankings in this race finishing 53rd. Jildou Chappell again ran a super race to come in 26th and Emilia Stokes hot on her heels in 27th. Isabelle Harding battled up the hills and despite a niggly knee, still made it into 38th place. There were 72 girls in this race and the team won 4thposition.
The U15 girls worked extremely hard and one only had to stand at the finish funnel to gauge just how hard! These lovely ladies tend to collapse over the line in a heap of dizzy breathlessness! Fantastic commitment from all. Emily Heasman, was back from illness, and in her first run of the season secured a very good 22nd place. Jean Foley maintained her 12th place and there is certainly more to come from her as she has such a calm approach. Alexandra Millard rose 1 place to 3rd this week, having a fantastic battle from start to finish with two top class runners. Louise Flynn is making consistent improvements and also rose 1 place to 26th this week. The team were placed 3rd.
Three young ladies set of at a stunning pace in the U17 race. Ella Fox was very impressive once again arriving at the finish in 5th place, 2 up from last time. Jess Carley came a tremendous 13th and was rightly delighted with this after a tricky track season. Alice Mount was similarly delighted, maintaining her 16th ranking, giving her all especially up those nasty hills! 4thteam overall.
Sarah Hall was the only representative in this week’s Women’s Senior Race, running a strong race, rising a place to 29th.
And so to the boys. Tom Hutton (U13) rose 3 places to 7th in this race, showing his strength on the hills. Well done Tom, fantastic running. Kado Bateman ran valiantly on his first outing, coming in 37th place. Harrison White had a bumpy ride in this race but recovered well after the experience. Cross Country can be hard, not only in a running sense but having to fend off numerous other bodies around you, particularly at the start. Battle and armour mode is necessary at times. There were 78 boys in this race!
Alex Holliday (U15 boys) made huge steps forward into 44thplace this week. Congratulations to him and we look forward to more next time. Similarly, Matthew Stonier romped home to 5th for the second time. Matthew obviously works hard with longer runs off the track as well to provide performances like this. Charlie Brisley impressed once again coming into 3rd place this week and Sam Newson finished in a creditable 32nd. The team were 3rd overall.
Marcus Etheridge led the Invicta U17 men this week into 17th place, 3 up, although in the initial stages of the race it was fantastic to see the red vests running together in a group. Joseph Griffiths and Cole Gibbens were a little disappointed but still finished 19th and 30th respectively. Kent is consistently one of the strongest counties for cross country and athletics and therefore competition is immense. Jo Whitby, back from illness, completed the course safely in 35th place and was pleased to be back in action. The team were 6th.
And to finish, the Senior Men. Dominic Woolford was another athlete to make improvements. Up to 82nd this week in another massive field of runners, and newcomer Yared Sebhat finished in an impressive 24th place, even more impressive as he chooses to run barefoot! One to watch for certain!
Thank you to Harrison White’s mum for taking some fabulous shots again and to all parents for providing logistical and emotional support for their young athletes. It is a real pleasure to be team managers for such a super group. Thanks of course to Peter, James and Ralph and to Tonbridge Athletics Club for organising a great event. If you would like to see videos of the races then visit the Tonbridge website www.tacdistancerunners.com